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If Ron Paul actively stayed in the race and didn’t win any delegates in Kentucky, he would damage his son’s political stock in a state where, despite being a U.S. senator, Rand Paul is still a political outsider. But if Ron Paul simply dropped out, his delegates would no longer be bound to him, foiling his strategy to gain control of the GOP platform in Tampa.
By “no longer spending resources,” Paul avoids this trap. His name is still on the ballot, he’s still accumulating delegates who will be bound to him in Tampa, but he avoids any responsibility for his electoral performance. If he does well, it’s a sign of the popular appeal of his message. If he doesn’t, well, he wasn’t really trying. Paul can escape blame for poor electoral results while continuing to help his fans take control of the party machinery state by state. The strategy may be passive aggressive, but it just could allow him to obtain the most elusive prize in electoral politics: power without responsibility. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.